Couch-potato-ing is gleaming with the patina of responsible citizenship during our Covid-19 struggle. With everything going on, can we just agree not to feel bad about this?

And also, if nothing else, this experience of quarantine and social isolation left us with the conviction that pleasure matters, that it is not optional but essential. All true, but at what cost?

We all know that working out is good for your health and that not working out is bad for you. In fact, a study of Swedish, middle aged men found that low aerobic capacity was second only to smoking as a risk factor for premature death. Fact is, sitting is the new smoking, linked to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. And then there’s the health care costs and  productivity losses of being a sloth … so, all bad then?

Truth is, binge watching series in the comfort of your own home was a great way to hunker down during the lockdown. The pandemic has certainly upended the status quo as this guilty pleasure has found its place in all of our daily lives. However, the simple ritual of watching TV has changed … it has become an obsession. Can we continue to get away with this guilty pleasure?

The World Health Organization recommends that adults do two and a half hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week. This is where couch potatoes may chuckle or scoff at the idea. Maybe a bit overzealous …? The good news is that even if you’ve never exercised, and if a marathon seems like some fantasy distance that only imaginary people run; just doing something, anything, could benefit your health.

So, how do you set yourself up for success? Why would you do this? First of all, find a reason that makes self-improvement a priority. Sometimes the reason could be dramatic – people can start a fitness regime because they know someone who suffered from not being active (maybe you know an obese person and you’ve seen the impact of that on his/her life). Other times it’s more simple – you can decide that wellness will be a top priority in 2021. A fresh start, right? Basically you need to want to be healthy more than wanting to go overboard on unhealthy habits.

If you’re not ready to join a gym or practice for a marathon just yet, explore different forms of exercise such as:

  • Playing video games. There are plenty of active games out there, Wii Sports, Wii Fit and Dance Revolution being just a few of the options.
  • Backyard games with the kids. Invest in a trampoline and have a go. Fun and exhaustion guaranteed.
  • Taking the dog (and the kids) for a brisk walk.
  • Dancing in your living room. Bop around to music and you’ll break a sweat before you know it. Pure fun!
  • Streaming a workout on YouTube.
  • Cleaning your home. Every time you vacuum, mop or scrub down your house, you’ll be burning calories.
  • Park in the furthest parking bay and take the stairs.

I know what you’re thinking: “This just seems like a lot of half-assing…” But thing is, small changes add up to big changes.

There’s no question that any exercise you do leads to reduced risk factors for mortality.

So, do something. Anything. Just get started.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.